The Cleveland Cavaliers' slump is wreaking havoc for bettors

LeBron James.
(Image credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Turns out the Chosen 1 is not actually a great choice — at least at the books.

ESPN reported Tuesday that the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, are a nightmare for casual gamblers this season. The Cavaliers have been awful at beating their predicted point spreads, ESPN explains: Despite compiling a winning 27-18 record, the team is only 11-33-1 relative to their predicted scores, "which is on pace to rank dead last among [any team] since 1990-91."

In point-spread betting, gamblers place money on the margin of the final score of any given game. Unlike the Golden State Warriors, who upend Vegas point spreads by winning games with unpredictable scores, the Cavaliers are fairly easy for Vegas to get a read on. They've regressed this year due to an aging roster plagued with with chemistry problems — but because the Cavs still employ James, arguably the best basketball player ever, casual bettors still throw their money at the team.

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That means that despite the fact that the Cavs have lost 7 of their last 10 games and trot out the second-worst defense in the NBA, Vegas has yet to adjust its betting lines because it's still making money on fans' good will, even as the team continually underperforms. As NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman explained to ESPN: "It's just hard for the public to go away when you have a commodity like LeBron."

So if you've got a contrarian streak, you're in luck, because the smart bet is to bet against the 2016 champs. Read more at ESPN.

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